Nowhere in cinema history has breathtaking visual spectacle and profound philosophical speculation been more successfully combined than in enigmatic director Stanley Kubrick’s SF masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. Visually, the film broke new ground with its amazing stargate finale, while the attention to detail in the moon and spaceflight sequences was so accurate that NASA astronauts actually used the film as a training tool for some years following the film’s release, a feat even more impressive given that 2001 came out in 1968, the year before the first human moon landing (Stork, 1997, p. 2). On the speculative level, 2001 introduced HAL, the single most widely recognised representation of Artificial Intelligence in cinema or popular culture to this day. In doing so, the big questions about what constitute both intelligence and life itself—as they were raised in relation to the early writings on Artificial Intelligence and cybernetics—found their way into the broader popular imaginary via the silver screen. 1 Indeed, the ‘intellectually provocative’ nature of 2001 was so dominant that many critics have argued that it finally put rest to the widely held ‘myth’ that SF cinema ‘cannot possibly be as thoughtful, as profound, or as intellectually stimulating as SF literature’ (Sobchack, 1997, p. 24). Speculation about the tenuous status of AIs is explicitly flagged early in the film during an interview with the crew of The Discovery in which HAL is introduced as a ‘computer which can reproduce, although some experts still prefer to use the word mimic, most of the activities of the human brain and with incalculably greater speed and reliability’ (emphasis added). The implicit question here as to whether HAL is actually alive or intelligent, and thus the counterpoint of exactly what being alive and intelligent mean in relation to human beings, develops as a major theme of 2001. It is that theme which will be explored below.